New York Rangers Drop Third Game to Undefeated St. Louis (Highlights)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 10: Kevin Hayes #13 of the New York Rangers skates against Carl Gunnarsson #4 of the St. Louis Blues during their game at Madison Square Garden on October 10, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Mika Zibanejad nets another, but it’s not enough as the New York Rangers fell to the undefeated St. Louis Blues Tuesday night. 

  • New York Rangers (1-3-0 2 Pts) 1
  • St. Louis Blues (4-0-0 8 Pts) 3
  • NHL.Com Offical Box Score
  • Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

To sum this dismal New York Rangers loss up, I think Kevin Shattenkirk put it best.

They’re making it too hard on themselves. The St. Louis Blues did not overwhelm or dominate the game by any means; they put a mere 23 shots on the net. But somehow, Carter Hutton and the St. Louis Blues found a way to win, and that’s exactly what a good team does.

The Blues were opportunistic throughout the game, capitalizing on two different failed clear attempts (one by Brady Skjei and one by Steven Kampfer on a penalty kill) to provide all the offense the Blues would need.

Skjei attempted a breakout pass to the middle, where J.T. Miller and Michael Grabner had a serious lapse. Grabner forgot a golden rule, which is to NEVER turn your back to someone who is looking to pass the puck. The Rangers then decided to send all three forwards to defend Jaden Schwartz, who slipped a pass to Carl Gunnarsson in the high slot, and voila, it’s 1-0 just 15 seconds into the game.

The one bright spot this season, which happens to have been a very low spot these past few seasons, is the power play. Mats Zuccarello, Shattenkirk, Pavel Buchnevich, Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad all have the mojo working as they have started the year fourth in the NHL clicking above 31 percent.

DJ Zibanejad got the party started for the Rangers in the first with a power play tally off a great heady play by the young Russian Buchnevich.

Zibanejad becomes the second Ranger to score a goal in each of the Rangers’ first four games, joining current teammate Rick Nash. This unit seems to be the only good thing right now, as the Zibanejad-Buchnevich-Zuccarello line has combined for 11 points thus far.

Despite only taking four penalties, the Rangers ceded the game-winning goal late in the first period on a Paul Carey slashing penalty. Steven Kampfer had a decidedly tough time clearing the zone and the opportunistic Blues struck again.

This one sums up the night for Nick Holden and Kampfer. As the goal is scored, they both happen to be doing more flopping around the ice than killing the penalty. This team needs Brendan Smith and Anthony DeAngelo to find their games, and fast.

As opposing goalies typically do, Blues backup Carter Hutton played phenomenal all night long. Buchnevich, Jimmy Vesey and Paul Carey all had great point-blank chances that were turned aside by Hutton.

Folks, it’s still early, but this team needs to find an identity. This is oftentimes the hardest thing to do early in a season and it was made more difficult by the offseason changes.

I believe in this team, and it’s four games in so I feel everyone needs to take a deep breath. Hear what Coach Alain Vigneault, Henrik Lundqvist and Ryan McDonagh had to say after the game….

A true captain, points out that it’s up to him to get the guys going. He does NOT deflect blame anywhere else and that’s what you want as a team leader.

The Rangers travel to Columbus on Friday, then come back home to face the upstart New Jersey Devils Saturday night.

Neal Purcell has a tremendous passion for New York Rangers hockey and the sport of hockey in general. A graduate of SUNY Cortland in Upstate NY, Purcell coaches both a high school hockey team and a travel team in the winter. Purcell is also a part of a small family business in the Central New York Region.